© Dynamosquito, Flickr

Kermanshah is a city in the Kurdish region of Iran, approximately 110 miles (165 km) from the Iraq-Iran border. The city’s modern roots date back to the 4th century, and its ancient roots date back even earlier. As of 2013, the population of the city is estimated at 851,405.[1]

History of Kermanshah

Kermanshah is considered by many to be home to one of the earliest civilizations. Many archaeological digs have been conducted in the surrounding region, and recently, Iranian and English archeologists uncovered a village that dates back to nearly 10,000 BC. [2]

An ancient Persian king is believed to have constructed the city of Kermanshah. The name “Kermanshah” refers to the king, or shah, who ruled over the city and region of Kerman, which still exists in Iran today.

Kurdish Music in Kermanshah

Kermanshah is widely recognized to be a cultural center for Kurdish music. Both Iranian and Turkish music can be traced back to Kurdish tribes and musical traditions from around Kermanshah, and there are many established and upcoming Kurdish musicians based in the region.[3]

Kurdish Religion in Kermanshah

Many Kurds who live in and around Kermanshah practice Yarsanism, one of the pre-Islamic religions of the region.[4] There is also a large population of Kurds in the area who practice Shiite Islam. A study conducted by an independent commission found that “Kermanshah differs from other Kurdish areas of Iran in that it has a significant Shiite Kurd population. These sources also note that the Shiite Kurds in the region have, historically, had little interest in Kurdish separatism or autonomy and have, for the most part, supported the [Iranian] Shiite republic.”[5]

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